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Weekly selection
14 February 2015

5 insightful op-eds or articles to help make sense of today’s world

  • Mohamed El-Erian, “An accidental currency war?”

    (Project Syndicate - 10 February 2015)

    Central banks around the world, including in the “most stability-obsessed” countries, are pursuing activist and unpredictable monetary policies on an unprecedented scale. They’ve now been forced on a sub-optimal policy path that could incite an undeclared currency war. El-Erian fears in particular that the divergence in monetary policy in the Eurozone, Japan, and the US adds another layer of confusion for the rest of the world, with dramatic implications for small, open economies.

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  • Chandran Nair, “The Myth of a Valueless China”

    (The Huffington Post - 10 February 2015)

    The founder of the Global Institute for Tomorrow in HK denounces the mismatch between the mainstream media narrative about China’s value and culture and the underlying reality. As just one example, he reminds us that by 2030, it will have a Muslim population larger than Saudi Arabia and a Christian population larger than any other country in the world. Stereotypes die hard!

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  • Stephen Walt, “Why arming Kiev is a really, really bad idea”

    (Foreign Policy - paywall - 9 February 2015)

    There is currently a debate within US and European policy /academic circles about possibly sending weapons to Ukraine. We believe this is a horribly bad idea that would only extend and aggravate an already destructive conflict. The influential Harvard professor of international relations makes the point quite neatly! He observes: “It’s easy to prescribe such actions when you’re safely located in a Washington think tank, but destroying Ukraine in order to save it is hardly smart or morally correct diplomacy”.

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  • Jeremy Bowen, “Bashar al-Assad interview: Jeremy Bowen meets Syria’s great survivor”

    (New Statesman - 12 February 2015)

    This is an edited version of an interview conducted by the BBC Middle-East correspondent with President Assad - an amazing survivor. A few years ago, the overwhelming consensus among experts and policy-makers was that his days were numbered. Now, he’s moved from a pariah of the international community to bulwark against jihadists. As Bowen observes:  “Assad’s views on jihadists and Saudi Arabia would not have been out of place at a think tank in Washington, DC”.

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  • Cassie Werber, “You have a second brain in your gut, and it can live without you”

    (Quartz - 12 February 2015)

    This is a short piece on the relationship between the brain and the gut – another brain that contains hundreds of millions of neurons – that is the basis of a whole new field of scientific study, now being presented at exhibition in London’s Science Museum. It explains why there is so much to be learned about how we eat, and how we can control it.

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